“I still can’t really believe it. I don’t feel like I’ve done anything extraordinary, music is just a large part of my life. I think it’s regular to put effort into something you care about.”

Fifteen-year-old Jacob Murray is one of six extraordinary winners of this year’s NUFSICISUM Award, celebrating youth leaders who are making a difference in their school and community through music. Jacob was incredibly excited when Christine Pleau, his music teacher at College François-De-Laval in Québec City made the announcement. Jacob and his classmates watched the live announcement on Music Monday, a national celebration of music, that was live-streamed from the National Arts Centre in Ottawa. “When it was announced by my teacher that I won a prize and was one of six laureates, my teachers was incredibly excited for me!”, says Jacob. A student committed to music excellence, Jacob believes there is an opportunity for those passionate about music to succeed, “There’s so much money in sports. If I want music to shine as much as those programs, I have to put my time and effort into it”. Jacob is a percussionist who is grateful for the opportunity to be involved in several ensembles at his school, including jazz band, percussion ensemble, and combo band. He also takes private drum lessons which continue to support his development, and is also a part of band outside of school with friends. Although his passion is metal music, Jacob believes that learning all kinds of music in school allows for a difference perspective and approach to music. “Like food, it’s still food, but a different, new and exciting flavour.” This is an important aspect for Jacob when he composes his own music. “When learning music, you have to listen to the base in order to get a strong structure and foundation for the music. Jazz and classical bring this basic core, upon which you can build and become more aware, and to me, music is about surprising.”

When we asked Jacob what advice he could give to other students looking to make a difference in their school through music, he posed a question to them, “Ask yourself how important music is in your life, and what does it provide for you? Once you know this you need to ask yourself, how can I help other people to experience this?.” Jacob believes there is a great sense of purpose when we listen and participate in music – a wholesomeness, and the possibility that others will miss out, is “tragic” because “they’re missing out on something truly amazing because they weren’t given the opportunity.”